Why the Epicurean Hotel Is In a Class of It’s Own

One of the things I enjoy most before a trip is doing all the research about the best hotels to stay at in any location. My first go to search always heads to boutique hotels.  And the mother of uniqueness and boutique style goes to the Epicurean Hotel. And this was before I even stayed there, just their website sucked me in instantly.

hotels in tampa - epicurean hotel

Also the fact that it’s located in an area called SoHo (South of Howard) piqued my interest. Growing up around NYC my friends and I visited SoHo in Manhattan – a lot. The words we always associated with SoHo were: chic, hip and artsy. So it was almost a no surprise for me that this hotel embodied it all, as though I was transported 2000 miles back to the SoHo I knew.

However, this hotel was much more than hip and chic, it represented the art of fine tastes and living.

Come With Me On an Epicurean Hotel Experience – I Promise You Won’t Want to Leave (I Didn’t)

Arrival and Check In

The hotel’s check-in policy is a totally different concept than I’m used.  Instead of doing the regular check in, the receptionist takes you to your room. On the way, you get a full tour of the hotel as well. And a quick explanation of how it all started.

The Epicurean is owned byMainsail Lodging and the family that owns Bern’s Steakhouse, one of the best steak houses and restaurants in the United States.  Bern’s is known for many innovative concepts, however, they are best known for having the LARGEST wine collection in the entire world.

epicurean hotel - lobby and entrance

NOTE – if you look closely, the entire wall and part of the ceiling over the front desk (and yes, that is the front desk and also some of the wine collection) it is fully covered in boxes from wines and different alcohols. Some of them don’t even exist anymore, or they were one of a kind.

Bern’s love for collecting and enjoying fine wines and alcohols is part of the very grain of this hotel’s theme. Thus the name Epicurean:

  • The whole concept of the hotels is around great food and amazing wines.
  • The hotel has 137 luxurious guest rooms and suites.
  • Rooms are decorated to reflect the culinary heritage and unique nature of the area.

Peak Inside a Room at the Epicurean

I had the king suite

epicurean hotel - room

With a full Media center and room for working

epicurean hotel - room media station

A wine bar (extra charge) – the tea and coffee are included in the room rate

epicurean hotel - room wine bar

Fully stocked fridge (extra charge)

epicurean hotel - stocked bar in room

Room service – they know that once you enter the room chances are you simply want to stay and enjoy it as much as you possibly can

epicurean hotel - room service

More Cool Spots Throughout the Hotel

Even though the hotel is the Epicurean and privately owned, it is part of the Autograph Collection hotels for the Marriott. Very few hotels around the world can be part of this exclusive collection. Usually it requires unique style, luxury standards and other qualities that make it a no-brainer to need to stay with them. Also, being part of the Autograph branch you get to use your Marriott Reward points and other Marriott benefits.

The lounge area of the hotel is meant to resemble and feel as though you are in Bern’s living room. And much of the furniture and art and trinkets are part of his collection.

epicurean hotel - lounge area

One of Bern’s strongest beliefs in life was that to be the best you must be a student for life. That’s how the Epicurean Theatre was created.

epicurean hotel - theater

Here there are weekly, monthly classes on wine, fine dining, gourmet cooking and other gastronomy lessons.

epicurean hotel - inside the theater

The pool area is a great place to hang out. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, the pool is always heated. So if you’re traveling with kids, they will be loving you.

epicurean hotel - pool area

And adults can enjoy a totally different take on cocktails at the EDGE bar on the 4th floor overlooking the entire Tampa Downtown area.

epicurean hotel - edge bar

And if you’re feeling adventurous, the neighborhood where the hotel is is considered one of the best in Tampa with tons to see and do. So hop on the bikes that are complimentary for guests staying here and have a blast.

epicurean hotel - bikes

Video Fun

Did You Know?

Not only does Bern’s have the largest wine collection many distillery’s of whiskey made exclusive alcohols only to be sold at Bern’s and their retail stores and restaurants.

epicurean hotel - alcohol for bern's steakhouse

Even Tequilas – only sold here

epicurean hotel - tequila

History of Bern’s

  • Bern Laxer returned to New York City after serving in World War II. That’s where he met his wife.
  • In 1951, Bern and Gert where planning to move to California, but made a visit to Bern’s aunt in Tampa first.
  • They ran out of money while in Tampa so they simply decided to stay for a while.
  • In 1953, they bought a small luncheonette called The Gator Juice Bar. They served orange juice, coffee, and cold sandwiches.
  • They spent five days a week working there but Saturdays were reserved for shopping, cleaning, scrubbing, and making repairs.
  • Before long, the luncheonette added hot breakfasts and lunches.
  • Because of all the success they purchased the Beer Haven bar and moved their operations there.
  • After a meeting with 10-20 investors, Bern and Gert began a whole new plan to create what is now the Bordeaux Room of Bern’s Steak House.
  • However after opening the bar they found out that the man who sold them the Beer Haven had done so without permission from the landlord so Bern and Gert went back to having a restaurant.
  • Bern and Gert bought adjoining shops to allow Bern’s to grow from one to eight dining rooms and from 40 to 350 guest seats.
  • The world famous Harry Waugh Dessert Room was built in 1985.
  • Bern passed away in 2002 and Gert still visits occasionally while their son, David,  runs Bern’s Steak House.
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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

3 Responses to Why the Epicurean Hotel Is In a Class of It’s Own

  1. Loredana says:

    This hotel looks indeed amazing!
    Loredana recently posted..Jamaica: photos and unknown factsMy Profile

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